Mincemeat Ice Cream


I know. Your initial impression of ice cream with mincemeat may not be favorable. But this isn’t the suet and minced meat type of olden days mincemeat. This is a glorious mixture of spiced apples, raisins, and pecans – mixed into ice cream.

Last Thanksgiving I made the ubiquitous pumpkin pie, a favorite of my family, and served it with this mincemeat ice cream. And it was a sublime pairing. There are no photos, because I’ve learned that food blogging can’t really happen during special meals! But I did want to share the recipe, which originally came from Bon Appetit.

The recipe is for a custard-style ice cream plus the mincemeat that is folded into the prepared ice cream.

This year, for the sake of time, I purchased a gallon of high-quality vanilla bean ice cream, made the mincemeat per this recipe, and folded it into the softened ice cream. You can do it all from scratch like I did last year, or cheat like I did this year.

I purchased a pumpkin pie for the purpose of photographing this ice cream, because this year I have other dessert plans for Thanksgiving. You know me – so much food, so little time… but I did want to share this spectacular recipe.

Mincemeat Ice Cream
Bon Appetit recipe, slightly adapted
printable recipe below

Ice cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
10 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar

2 Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/3 pounds), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2” cubes
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup apple cider
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Juice of one lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

To make the ice cream, mix cream and milk in heavy large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer; remove from heat.

Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 5 minutes. Strain custard into bowl. Cover; chill until cold, about 4 hours.

To prepare the mincemeat, bring all 13 ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick.

Transfer mixture to bowl; refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Process custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to bowl. Fold in 3 cups cold mincemeat. Cover and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. I you’re using a gallon of purchased ice cream, use all of the mincemeat, which measures 3 cups.

The mince meat could be made with pears as well if they were firm.

Just for fun, I combined some of the cider and brown sugar bourbon I used in the mincemeat and reduced to a syrup, then poured it warm over the ice cream on the pumpkin pie.

I have the worst time photographing ice cream, but I can guarantee that if you love apple pie filling, you will love this recipe.

It is so good by itself, but especially good with pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!



Fondant Potatoes


Never, have I ever, seen fondant potatoes on a restaurant menu. But on cooking shows they seem quite common.

So much so that after watching children make fondant potatoes on my favorite show, Masterchef Junior, I knew I finally had to make them.

So what are they exactly? They are a russet potato cut into a barrel shape, browned in butter and oil, then cooked in broth.

So nothing fancy, really, but they’re crispy on the outside, rich and luxurious on the inside, and look good on a plate.

So here’s what I did, based on this recipe, from The Hairy Bikers.

Fondant Potatoes

3 large Russet potatoes
2 ounces unsalted butter
2 ounces grapeseed oil
Black Pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
Fresh or dried thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the ends of the potatoes off. Stand the potato upright and, using a flexible paring knife, cut off the peels, forming multiple ridges around the potato.

Lay the potato on the cutting board and slice crosswise in half. Continue with the remaining 2 potatoes; you will have 6 barrels.

Place the barrels in cold water for 5 minutes to get rid of some starchiness. Dry them well with paper towels.

Heat the butter and oil over high heat in a heavy skillet. Using tongs, add the barrel potatoes to the butter and oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn down the flame to medium-high, and let the potato ends brown.

Meanwhile, have the chicken stock simmering on the stove, or somehow heated.

When the ends of the potatoes have browned, turn them over and repeat the browning, adding a little more salt and pepper, adjusting the heat as necessary.

When the ends of the potatoes are browned, pour in the hot chicken stock – carefully.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and let the potatoes cook for about 45 minutes.

When done, the potatoes should be nice and crispy on the outside but tender and fully cooked on the inside.

Place the potato barrels on a serving plate, and drizzle on the remaining butter-oil mixture, if you don’t mind that sort of thing. Sprinkle with thyme leaves.

Often a few sprigs of fresh thyme are in the butter while the potatoes are browning, but I opted for dried thyme.

Sneak a taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

I made these potatoes for a steak dinner, and I now know that I will be making them again – with or without the steak.

Note: The ends of my potatoes burnt a little, as you can tell in the photos, and the burning occurred in the oven. I didn’t mind the flavor but I don’t think they’re supposed to brown that much. I went through a lot of recipes to get an idea of how to make fondant potatoes, and some required the oven to be heated to 425 degrees F. I lowered the temp to 400 degrees F, but when I make these again, I’ll use a 375 degree oven.

Mushy Peas


The first time I had mushy peas was, not surprisingly, in London when I was visiting my daughter. And, not surprisingly, I had them because they came with my fish and chips. I was a little skeptical, not being a huge pea lover, but they were good! Really good!
The peas are often also served along the other quintessential British pub dish meat pie.
The peas traditionally used for mushy peas are called marrowfat peas, and they’re dry peas, cooked from scratch. But I have never seen them, and decided that a bag of frozen peas will have to work.

What gives mushy peas their unique flavor is mint. It turns out it’s really a lovely combination!

I found a recipe on the Jamie Oliver website. Mushy peas are insanely easy to make.


Mushy Peas
Recipe by Jamie Oliver

1 knob butter
4 handfuls podded peas
1 small handful fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
1 squeeze lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

So since I have no podded peas, here’s my version of this recipe.

1 – 1 pound bag frozen peas, thawed
1 ounce unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
1 squirt lemon juice
Black pepper

Drain the peas in a colander to remove any excess water from the peas.

Place the peas in a food processor and pulse. I made mine a cross between whole peas and completely mushed up peas. I noticed that in my top photo with the fish and chips, the mushy peas look like a mixture of pea purée and whole peas, and the peas with the meat pie look softer, and more mushy. So you can probably make them just about any way.

To quote Jamie Oliver: “You can either mush the peas up in a food processor, or you can mash them by hand until they are stodgy, thick and perfect for dipping your fish into.”

I think mine might not be stodgy enough, but then, I’m not sure what stodgy means.

Place the butter in a medium-sized pot that has a lid, and add the stodgy peas.

Add the mint leaves, cover the pot, and simmer the peas on low for about 10 minutes.

Give the peas a good stir, then add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

And that’s it!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have fish and chips, but I did pan-fry a Swai filet and the combination was fabulous!
I’m wondering if children who hate peas might actually enjoy mushy peas!

Sticky Toffee Pudding


I have a newly discovered love of all things British since my daughter moved to London over three years ago. Before that I’d never been to England, but we’ve been visiting her quite a bit. She’s a good excuse to cross the pond, so to speak. She’s a very good tour guide, and does especially well taking us to her favorite restaurants and gastropubs in London.

It was at one, called Vinoteca, where I decided to have dessert after brunch. It was Mum’s Day, after all, so I splurged. My daughter was attempting to explain to us that all desserts in England are called puddings. I mean, I was served my Sticky Toffee Pudding, and it’s a cake! But there, it’s a pudding! Why is it called a pudding?!

The “pudding” didn’t look like much. It was a square of golden brown cake. But it was hot, and topped with gooey caramel sauce and slowly melting vanilla ice cream, so I knew it would be good.

Well, I have to say. It was sweet heaven on a plate.

I never wanted to have it again because that experience was so perfect, but about a year after that, my husband and I went with our daughter to the Lake District of Northern England, in Cumbria. We stayed at a delightful bed and breakfast outside of Coniston that served fabulous meals. And, one night, they served us Sticky Toffee Pudding.

It was even better than what I had in London. I later discovered that the birthplace of Sticky Toffee Pudding is the Lake District!!! But why it was even better I’ve never been able to figure out.

I’ve looked at many recipes for Sticky Toffee Pudding since, and they’re all similar. The “cake” is made with dates, which no one knows. But they’re in there. It’s quite unique. So here is my recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding. You’ll love it, too!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

6 ounces finely chopped dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 ounces boiling water
6 ounces self-rising flour
2 1/2 ounces butter, at room temperature
6 ounces white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature

7 ounces brown sugar
3.5 ounces butter
5.3 ounces heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, cut into fourths

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ square baking dish; set aside.

Place the dates in a small saucepan along with the baking soda. Add the boiling water and give the dates a stir. Place the pan over a burner and once they’re boiling, boil them gently for about a minute; this breaks them down a little more. Set aside the pan and let the dates cool for at least 30 minutes.


Sift the flour into a small bowl and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, and mix thoroughly.


When the dates have cooled, add them to the butter-sugar mixture and beat well; you can’t overbeat. Switch to a spoon, and add the sifted flour. Stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, make the sauce:

Place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat the pan slowly over medium heat, until the butter has melted. Let the mixture cook for about five minutes: it will have thickened.


After the cake has baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven. Put about 4 or 5 tablespoons of the caramel sauce on top of the cake and spread it around to cover the cake completely. Then return the cake to the oven for 2 minutes.


Serve the cake hot or warm, drizzled with the sauce. A scoop of ice cream is optional!

Sticky Toffee Pudding at a restaurant called Bumpkin, in London

Sticky Toffee Pudding at a restaurant called Bumpkin, in London